¡Bienvenido! (Welcome!)

As you have noticed, the Exponent has begun to have some of its lesson plans translated into español to share the hearts, minds and stories of women as far and wide as possible.* This post is to introduce one of the español translators who has blessed us with his bilingual talents. Please join us in a belated welcome to César! 

 
Traducción Inglés/Click for English Translation

 
Mi nombre es César Carreón Tapia y soy mexicano. Soy mormón desde hace ya 9 años y recientemente me reconocí como un ‘feminista mormón’. Todo comenzó cuando perdí a mi privilegio en la Iglesia por ser gay y asi fue cuando finalmente me di cuenta: Pude ver la desigualdad a la que nos enfrentamos como miembros de la Iglesia, yo creía que no podía hacer nada para ayudar a cambiar el status quo, pero encontré una gran cantidad de apoyo y comprensión de la comunidad de mormones liberales en internet  -el “bloggernacle” – y así fue como llegué a saber sobre The Exponent II. Leí la historia detrás del blog y pensé que podía darle a mis conocimientos de idiomas un buen uso y me ofrecí a traducir los mensajes regulares para las lecciones de la Sociedad de Socorro.

 

CesarYo había trabajado anteriormente en la traducción de la página web oficial de la Iglesia, The Vineyard, así que tenía un poco de experiencia con la jerga mormona. También participé en la traducción del sitio en español de “Afirmación: Mormones LGBT, Familia y Amigos” y en la traducción de algunas de las Conversaciones de Ordain Women. He encontrado mucho gozo al traducir todos estos materiales a mi lengua materna! Y no sólo por los efectos de la difusión, sino por todas las personas increíbles que he conocido a través de este asignaciones!

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August Young Women Lesson: How can I prepare now to become a righteous wife and mother?

Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation

This is a very tricky lesson to teach! Be sure to be mindful of those who do not fit the cookie-cutter mould in your branch, ward and/or stake so that the lesson does not border on the offensive or appear to be making judgement of others’ lives, circumstances and choices (to so do this would only undermine the concept of marriage, making the lesson an anti-marriage lesson).

 

To start, I went and reviewed both the lesson for Young Women (YW) and Young Men (YM)girls leadIt was surprising to me how vastly different the lesson materials were. The YW lessons were in a passive voice, and even included a subsection titled, “Share Experiences,” which heavily contrasts the YM’s “Let the Young Men Lead.” Now, I think sharing experiences is a good thing, but I also think that having the Young Women lead the lesson is also important. When I was a Young Woman, my Mia Maid (MM) teacher always had the MM President begin the meeting. She had the MM President assign someone to conduct, lead, and then turn the time over to her, as the teacher. Her example in this is still one of the most important in my life, because it taught me that I was allowed to be a leader (to peers, at home, etc.). I recommend you do the same in your classes so the YW gain confidence in how to manage people (a very important skill to learn in managing a family, roommates, etc!)

 

Teacher Preparation:

By this age, (at least for any of the youth classes I have taught in the church) the students already “know” the rote answers they are “supposed to know.” I am a huge fan of digging deeper after they give me the rote answer, by asking them if they agree or disagree with the rote answer that they have been taught and have them supplement their thoughts by asking them “why do you think this is the answer?” and “why might this not be the right answer”. I suggest doing this with the Young Women in your class, thereby encouraging them to think about the answer they are giving. Then ask them if they agree or disagree, and challenge them to develop a testimony of the answer they are giving.

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A Testimony: Jesus Loves Gay Marriage

A Testimony: Jesus Loves Gay Marriage

Jesus_w_childrenLike many Mormons, I was raised to believe that sexual attraction was a choice. Anything other than heterosexual desire expressed through a Mormon temple marriage was inferior and possibly deviant. But I lacked fervor when it came to defending marriage. My testimony of California’s Proposition 8 was weak. It seemed like every young single adult in my stake was phone-banking or bearing a testimony of heterosexual marriage in a campaign commercial. But as I studied the issue of marriage equality I could find no legal, social, or moral basis to support limiting marriage to only heterosexual couples. It became a test of faith for me.

I loved President Monson and believed a prophet of God could never lead me astray. I attempted to put my faith in action with a Facebook post and bumper sticker in support of CA Proposition 8. I waited for the warm outpouring of Spirit to confirm my faith that I was standing for God. But, instead I accidentally overheard a conversation between those wounded by LDS support of Proposition 8 that helped me to realize I could not be an activist in support on this issue. I recognized I was contributing to the harm of people I cared about and took no further public action. But I still wanted to sustain President Monson and voted yes on Proposition 8, waiting for a testimony to confirm that my act of faith was the right choice.

Eventually a testimony came. But it was not the testimony I had sought out. Instead, I gained a testimony that marriage equality is essential to the plan of salvation; gay marriage strengthens families and heals and protects children.

This is my conversion story:

As an adoption social worker in Los Angeles, specializing in older teen adoption; my caseload was predominantly older children of color. The one exception was Joshua. A toothy pumpkin grinned boy living in a predominantly black neighborhood with an elderly black couple in their eighties. His foster parents were ready to retire from fostering and anxiously awaited the day Joshua could be placed with a permanent family for adoption. The lone white boy in his neighborhood, Joshua was frequently bullied for his socially awkward behavior.

Joshua was popular at adoption recruitment events with white parents looking to adopt a child that bore some family resemblance to them. At 10-years-old, he was still on the cute side of puberty. Joshua desperately wanted to belong to a family. His birthday wish each year in foster care was to be adopted.

Joshua was matched for adoption with a wealthy couple. Devoutly religious and empty nesters they had an abundance of time, experience, religious motivation, and wealth to pour into parenting Joshua. I was thrilled with the parenting assets they brought to the match.  After an extensive screening, they began to visit with Joshua in a process of increasing contact with initial short visits progressing to longer overnight weekend visits.

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Changing my mind

brainI have a new job. Same company, but a new boss and new responsibilities. Intellectually, I am pleased. The new position is challenging, needed and supported. Every detail has lined up perfectly, and yet two months in, I am feeling a little lost. I am overly sensitive and questioning everything. I am tired. Cranky. Slow. Moaning at work/life balance and then when home, staring out the window instead of quilting, reading or riding my bike.

What is wrong with me? I have been asking this question over and over. Snap out of it! This is a great opportunity! Go for a walk and get it together! After moping around for weeks, I finally have a diagnosis. The job will be fine. The problem is me. My world is moving fast and my emotions are a tangle of neurons cowering in my primitive brain, scanning nervously for sabor tooth tigers. I am having a textbook change response.   

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Anger

Anger is something I don’t do well. When I get angry, one of two things happens. I get emotional and cry, and no one takes me seriously; or I swallow it, and no one even knows I’m mad, and I wallow in it for days. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because later this week I will have to see someone who I used to be very angry with, for the first time since they hurt me. I’m very nervous about how I am going to react.

I learned a lot of my non-coping strategies from the culture of the LDS church; as a woman, but especially as a Mormon woman, I’ve been taught my whole life to avoid conflict, to be nice, to deffer to authority especially when I disagree, and to swallow my negative emotions. In writing this post I looked up as many references to anger by general authorities as I could find. Unsurprisingly, they were all either about how we need to choose not to be angry, or warnings about the evils of anger. For example:

“Anger is the mother of a whole brood of evil actions” (Gordon B. Hinckley, 2007)

“If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry” (Thomas S. Monson, 2009)

I absolutely agree that anger can be damaging, and in many instances, dangerous. However, I feel that simply telling people that anger is bad and they should try not to feel it is not the answer. Emotions happen. They are a reality. Even when we are at our best, they run away with us. What we should be teaching people is that Anger is part of the human experience, and giving them tools to cope with it when it does inevitably come up.

Besides, anger can be positive when it can be channeled in to productive directions. For example, my neighbor with a special-needs child has been able to turn her anger at a system that disadvantages her child in to advocacy for many families in similar situations. It can be a great source of motivation for change.

What do you do when you get angry? Have you ever turned the experience in to a positive?

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Guest Post: “It Bends”

Guest Post by Quimby. Quimby’s previous posts are here, here and here.

When I was 24, I was called to be Primary President in my small, rural Australian ward.  It was the preamble to four years of torture.

 

Don’t get me wrong – I quite enjoyed the role itself.  Sure, we struggled to find teachers some weeks; bookbut I was always prepared with a spare lesson and a spare Sharing Time.  My mother would send me resources from Deseret Books, so that I had a year’s worth of bulletin boards and Sharing Times all ready to go.  There weren’t many kids; but I liked them.  I wanted them to feel loved; I wanted them to want to be in Primary.

 

My battles were with the leadership.  From the very beginning, the Stake Primary Presidency seemed to want to undermine me. She badgered me with countless small jabs about my age and my acreer career, possibly ecause we did not; have children at the time.  If the Stake had a real cause for concern, I might have cared – If I was teaching incorrect Gospel principles, or abusing the kids, or in some other way failing the children in my charge, I might have cared.  But the sheer pettiness of their complaints, coupled with the relentlessness of them, made me simply disconnect from the Stake leadership.

 

To my knowledge, the biggest complaint against me (or at least the biggest complaint the Bishop passed on to me) was that I let the kids choose their own birthday song.

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